Sending Office: Honorable Earl Blumenauer
Cosponsor H.R. 6202: The Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act Of 2020
Unless Congress acts quickly, the Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) has the potential to significantly disrupt the 2020 primary and general elections. The virus will likely impact voters who cannot leave their homes as well as those who are under mandatory
or self-imposed quarantines at the recommendation of health experts. According to the Election Assistance Commission,
58% of all poll workers in 2018 were over 60, the prime at-risk population for COVID-19.
The Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 addresses the serious threat to our democracy posed by COVID-19 by requiring states and localities to create and publish an election contingency plan, providing guidelines for how
to implement these plans, and providing federal support for implementation.
In the event that 25% of states declare an emergency related to COVID-19, another infectious disease, or a natural disaster, this legislation requires all states to:
- Offer all registered voters the ability to vote by absentee ballot.
- Offer voters the ability to submit electronically a request for an absentee ballot rather than having to do so in person or with a paper form.
- Offer voters the choice of receiving their blank absentee ballot electronically to print at home and return by postal mail. Currently, print-at-home ballots are only offered to overseas and military voters.
- Accept absentee ballot requests up until 5 days before an election (for blank ballots sent to the voter by mail) and 1 day before the election (for electronic print-at-home ballots).
- Accept ballots that have been postmarked by election day – which will be important in the event that mail is delayed due to large numbers of postal workers being quarantined.
Even if the 25% threshold has not been met, the provisions of the act can be triggered within a state at the discretion of a governor by declaring a state of emergency. The provisions of this legislation will apply to all federal elections held until 180
days after states declare that the emergency has ended.
Finally, the act supports states by providing $500 million in grants to cover the cost of postage and for high-speed scanners necessary to process large numbers of absentee ballots.
For more information, or to cosponsor this bill, please contact Amber Ray (email@example.com) in Rep. Blumenauer’s office, Sasha Bernhard
(Sasha.Bernhard@mail.house.gov) in Rep. DelBene’s office, or Holly Idelson (Holly.Idelson@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Raskin’s office.
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